What Are You Spending Money On Right Now?

Even companies that continued to grow during the recession found themselves confronted with fewer customers, less access to credit, and skittish investors. In other words, times have been tough for just about everyone.

But smart entrepreneurs recognize that a downturn -- when everyone else, including the competition, is scared and hunkering down -- can be a great time to reinvest, hire new talent, even expand locations, often for far cheaper than they could've a year or two ago. Now, it seems, can be a great time for entrepreneurs to arm themselves for the inevitable (at least we hope) upswing.

So where should business owners focus their attention? We asked the Board of Directors for their take on spending. Good news, America -- they're hiring!

Clint Greenleaf

Founder and CEO, Greenleaf Book Group

"The Cowboy"

"We're hiring six people right now. There are a ton of talented people who are still employed, but are concerned about stability -- we can provide that with high growth and opportunities, so this is a great time to ratchet up talent."

Lexy Funk

Co-Founder and CEO, Brooklyn Industries

"The Contrarian"

"Well, aside from rent, payroll, and cost of goods, we just spent money opening our store on Newbury Street in Boston. We used recycled materials and wood as much as possible to save money. Then next thing we are going to spend money on is a new office. We need to be more central to the buzz of the city."

Gary Whitehill

Founder, The Relentless Foundation and New York Entrepreneur Week

"The Sheriff"

"Since we're a non-profit, for every dollar that comes in the door we create three dollars in value. This is the inverse to most other non-profits who simply return $.80 on the dollar (or less) to their organizations mission. We're able to sustain this return on investment by leveraging sites such as Guru, oDesk and Elance."

Jennifer Hill

Startup Advisory and Venture Lawyer, Gunderson Dettmer LLP

"The Advocate"

"People. A company's greatest asset is its employees -- especially during a recession. Retaining critical headcounts that can deliver results, develop the market on a shoestring budget, and creatively solve problems is a wise way to spend precious capital."

The original version of this article appeared on AOL Small Business on 5/24/10.

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